(Photo credit: africanbusinessmagazine.com)
If you are like me & you have multiple bank accounts, then chances are that you got something similar to this from one of your banks in August:
Quite frankly, the first question that came to my head when I first learnt of this development was: what exactly is this Emefiele guy smoking? I have personally struggled with many of the policies the CBN has implemented since he took over from people’s favourite, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in June 2014. From increasing the monetary policy rate (which has kept bank lending rates sky-high), to the way it has micro-managed the foreign exchange conundrum by all manner of ill-advised & poorly thought-through mechanisms that have left the Naira on a slippery slope. Not to mention how small, legitimate businesses have been starved of opportunities to source for much-needed foreign exchange to transact internationally. Don’t mind me; that is just the Finance side of me speaking. I don’t intend to make this technical at all…
Back to Godwin Emefiele & his highly controversial policies. For the average Nigerian, the pick of the bunch surely will always be the re-introduction of the notorious ATM charges that his predecessor had banished to the realms of the abyss. You may be forgiven if you sometimes wonder if the dude has the interests of the country as a whole at heart or he is serving the narrow interests of some powerful, invisible groups in the ivory tower of elephant tusk…
Your guess is as good as mine:
Did you notice an obvious contradiction (especially the texts highlighted in yellow)? On the one hand, Fidelity Bank said the ban was from the CBN & it was merely following its directive. On the other hand, the CBN said it was simply acting after duly considering the recent statements made by the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs). Don’t be deceived by the ‘DMB’ terminology; DMBs are mainly the same commercial banks that you bank with! So, if the commercial banks say they were acting on a specific directive issued by the CBN & the CBN at the same time claims it was acting on statements made by the same commercial banks, then the question is: WHO IS LYING?
Before we answer that question, one thing is crystal-clear: at least one group is telling a lie. And if indeed a lie was ever told by either the CBN or the commercial banks, then be rest assured that you have been lied to for sure. Now, how well do you know the ‘Oga at the Top’ at the Central Bank? He was there from inception when Zenith Bank was founded back in 1990 but worked under the shadow of the overbearing Jim Ovia for almost 20 years. I once worked at Zenith & I can tell you for free that it was all about Jim from top to bottom. Trust me, if it hadn’t been for Lamido Sanusi’s mandatory maximum 10-year tenure for CEO of commercial banks in Nigeria, Emefiele might never have succeeded BIG JIM; just as Tony Elumelu might never have stepped down at UBA. And if you had been shrewd enough to understand the political mathematics during Jonathan’s administration, you would have guessed very easily why Emefiele got the top job in the Nigerian Banking industry the moment Sanusi became a pariah, given the closeness between BIG JIM & GEJ…
Again, if the commercial banks claimed it was the CBN & the CBN issued a statement saying it was the commercial banks, then who indeed initiated this infamous policy that is sending seismic shocks across businesses & homes in Nigeria?
(To be continued…)
By: Isaac Audu-Usman
(NB: All opinions expressed are those of the author (s) & not of LeVitateNaija.)